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Sellers are required by law to disclose any problems about a house - in fact, 30 states have disclosure laws. However in a tough market, when homes are listed for a long period of time, sometimes sellers tell little white lies to help their home get sold. Here's a list of these lies and how buyers can determine the real truth:
- Overemphasizing the square footage and lot size:
Because the buyer probably doesn't walk around with a tape measure, he or she is going to be inclined to accept the given measurements. However, if there is a discrepancy, the truth is going to come out in the appraisal. And sellers must beware - smaller dimensions on a house can lead to a lower appraisal and jeopardize the sale.
- Failure to disclose major damage
: With the necessary repairs all fixed and a seemingly damage-free house on hand, sellers may be reluctant to tell the buyer about a major event that occurred in the house. However, all the buyer has to do is buy a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to learn first-hand the home's history of damage.
- Underreporting the tax and heating costs
: High extra costs on a home can be a deterrent for some homebuyers, so sellers sometimes feel the need to paint a more positive picture when it comes to taxes and heating bills. However, the buyer has the right to ask to see recent bills and can view tax records at the tax assessor's office. Additionally, buyers need to look out for any unrecorded improvements, which can adversely affect these extra costs.
The bottom line is that it is never a good idea for the seller to misrepresent any factors relating to a home's condition or up-keep. And it is a real estate broker's job to ensure that all of the presented facts are correct. The truth will most likely always come out and it is beneficial for all parties that a home is fairly and accurately represented, in any type of market.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, M.P. McQueen, 1/14/2010)
Labels: Real Estate Broker
Posted by Heather Brunson @ 9:16 AM